A Serbian Film
October 25, 2011 (U.S. DVD)
Srdjan Spasojevic and Aleksandar Radivojevic
Srdan Todorovic as Milos
Sergej Trifunovic as Vukmir
Jelena Gavrilovic as Marija
Slobodan Bestic as Marko
Katarina Zutic as Lejla
Luka Mijatovic as Stefan
A Serbian Film takes Depravity to New Heights, using sex, and the fact that so many people are f-ed up about it somehow, as a form of torture and horror that’s difficult to forget.
This is a film about the making of a film – the last hoorah porn film for an aging porn star that had the unique talent of stamina and animalistic intensity in his performances. This particular porn star had been out of the business for a while now and lives with his beautiful wife and young son – but money worries allow him to be coaxed out of retirement by one of the porn directors he’d worked with in the past. The only condition for working on this last film, and collecting the huge paycheck for his participation, is that the star must know nothing of the script before hand. The whole thing is to be spontaneous and a complete surprise as it unfolds.
The film quickly becomes beyond taboo with instances of rape and pedophilia, and the star proclaims things have to change or he’s going to quit. The filmmaker promptly locks the star up and jacks him up with a combination of animal tranquilizer and Viagra, making him a mindless sex machine that will do anything to find satisfaction. It is this element of “do anything” that leads everyone involved into a nightmare of ruined lives and broken psyches.
There has been a high level of buzz and notoriety surrounding A Serbian Film due to its extremely taboo subject matter and it’s being banned from film festivals and nations across the globe. Much of the talk of A Serbian Film is that it is purely a shock film with no value other than crossing boundaries of “polite society”. While on one hand the arguments are accurate when they describe this film as completely over-the-top and stopping at no taboo or uncomfortable subject, the characterization of that being the only notable element is not accurate. Don’t take this as a recommendation of A Serbian Film in any way, shape or form though, as there are indeed visuals and situations in this film that are unfortunately impossible to “un-see” after the credits roll, no matter how much you may wish you could.
We can talk about acting performances, photography, effects and music in A Serbian Film, and that discussion would be a positive one as these elements are well done. Overall, from a cinematic perspective, A Serbian Film is a very good film. The pacing is also good and the story… well, the story itself is great. There are many forms of torture and violence in horror films, and Horror Freaks have grown accustomed and desensitized to machete-wielding maniacs picking off panty-clad co-eds one by one and even thousands of dead bodies spontaneously coming to “life” and ripping the flesh from the bones of the living. Meh, all in a day’s work, right? Somehow, though, when using sex as a means of torture, humiliation, manipulation and murder it hits a deeper chord than a knife to the gut or strange sounds coming from the woods.
There are a lot of attitudes about sex that people push down and out of their everyday consciousness, be it sex as power, for revenge, to punish, for approval – and individual feelings about sex that can range from fear and uncertainty to using it as a drug to forget our own insecurities. Of course, sex as a way to be close and express love is another, and I’m not here to analyze any of that… but it is true that most don’t want to talk about their personal “dark side” when it comes to sex; A Serbian Film takes whatever may be lurking in one’s darkest recesses and displays it 100 times worse that your own imagination could ever conjure.
In the end this film is about the mental decline of a man, orchestrated by another using sex to destroy everything civilized and valuable in his life. I can appreciate what happens in A Serbian Film from a psychological horror standpoint, but the fact remains that if I had the chance now to “un-watch” this film, I would do so immediately. For that reason, I just can’t recommend it.